She is very well spoken and has obviously given a lot of thought to all of this, what she wrote was not off the cuff or a rant. It sounds like she is ex-military which I respect very much, and well educated. She is also very thoughtful, and believes whole-heartedly that she is doing the very best for her child.
Her 6 year old son at learning about slavery and Abraham Lincoln inquired of his mother whether people still hate them - and if they are still slaves. She put off answering him directly until she could think about it and came to the conclusion that she would tell her child that yes, people will hate him because of the color of his skin. And yes, they are still slaves because of white privilege and a culture of intolerance, basically. She went on to talk about how America is not there for her or her son, for gays or Muslims or pretty much anyone other than male, white, Christians. In her eyes America is a pretty bad place to live if you're not a white guy who worships Jesus.
Normally I would not comment on a post that is so diametrically opposed to my opinions or experience. But this disturbed me so much I felt compelled to. I said how sad it made me that she would teach her son that people hate him - and I said she could not speak for me or anyone else, any more than we can speak for her. I do not hate people because of their differences. I try to take people on a case by case basis. And white privilege? I have been reading up on it the last few days because I wanted to see what different people said about it, see several perspectives and really try to understand - even though I can never truly relate to it. And my opinion (as unpopular as it may be to say it out loud) is that I am sure white privilege existed 30 years ago. But if it exists now it is because of the culture of victimization and perpetuation of things like "yes Honey, people hate you because of the color of your skin". That culture says to me - that no matter what I say (I don't hate you), or what my actions are, down deep I really do hate people who are black, brown, or different from me culturally. I don't even get a chance to like or care about them right from the get-go because I have white skin and light eyes.
The irony does not escape me.
But I'm not supposed to say that because I am white and that would be racist.
There is so much involved, not the least of which is poverty - and so many kids being raised without fathers in the home. Welfare has arguably caused the death of the family unit - for many in poverty. So I cannot even come close to writing about all that is involved with race relations in the U.S. I just think we have made a lot more progress than is recognized or acknowledged. And passing down the message of hate from one
I mentioned how President Obama being elected by whites as well as blacks should show something. But when I object to something the president does - I am accused of hating the black man in the white house. Truth is, I don't give a damn what color the man is, I think he's as close to being a socialist as any president we've ever had! Nothing to do with his race. But it is assumed that anyone who thinks Obama is a bad president is a racist. It's that automatic assumption again. So what does that make people who think George Bush was a bad president? Not automatically racist, that's for sure.
The blog post talked about encouraging her son to make something of his life, how he can be something other than (white approved careers) a rap artist or an athlete. She also talked about how he will have to fight for it, will have to be twice as good as the white men he may be competing with, how he will have to be strong and work harder - because he is black. She spoke on teaching her son to be a good and moral man which is certainly a good thing. But the message that he is hated does not go hand in hand with all the good things she wants to teach him.
And it's sad.
|Not racist and not hated|
There is an automatic response in certain parts of the black community, that when something bad happens - it is because of racism. And when that card comes out - the facts of whatever it is - go out the window and the story is clouded by hurt.
I am not racist, I do not hate groups of people because they are different from me. There will always be cultural differences where many times we will not understand or relate to each other. But hate? No, not on my part. Resentment? If I am honest I have to say yes, resentment because I am accused of something because of history, for the actions of others. I am accused of something I cannot disprove - and I am damned tired of it. I cannot carry that burden because it is not mine to carry. It is history. And we need to move forward and learn from that history, never forget and never repeat it. But punishing the white community for the sins of their fathers does not heal the wounds.
No one can say that racists do not exist. There are still ignorant and repulsive people out there who just don't learn. But it's not institutional as many believe, and certainly not automatic thinking simply because someone is white. It also does not make racism right for blacks - because they were discriminated against in the past. Bad acts in the past do not excuse bad acts in the present or future.
My comment on the blog post was totally negated by telling me I had missed her point and ignored her reality. But isn't that what happens when I or others like me say we are not racists? We practically aren't ALLOWED to say it and we certainly aren't believed. And if some member of the black community does believe us - they say it doesn't matter anyway because we still benefit from unearned privileges because we are white. And many times they are turned on by the black community. Sigh-h-h. Makes me wonder if we can ever get past this.
I carry something around in my purse still on the lined notebook paper I copied it onto in high school. No idea where it originated from now, but it reminds me of this woman's son, in a way.
I don't cause teachers trouble.
|SO MUCH HOPE!|
My grades have been okay.
I listen in my classes,
And I'm in school every day.
My teachers say I'm average
My parents think so too.
I wish I didn't know that,
'Cause there's lots I'd like to do.
I'd like to build a rocket.
I've a book that tells you how;
And start a stamp collection;
Well, no use in trying now.
'Cause since I found I'm average
I'm just smart enough to see
It means there's nothing special
That I should expect of me.
Tell a kid he's average and what pushes him to excel? Tell a kid he's hated, what reason would he have to disbelieve it and break the cycle?
Seriously, I have been walking around for a few days with this knot in my stomach as my thoughts go back to the idea of teaching a child that people hate him because of his color. It is not my experience. It is that lady's experience and her reality. I cannot tell her how to raise her child or what to teach him. But I can feel grief at the idea that while she believes she is imparting wisdom that is helping him be prepared for life, she is really handicapping him and not letting him have his own experience and create his own reality.
If allowed, he might find his reality very different from hers - and that might be progress.
*Footnote for Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton
|Not friends of the black community|
There is another class of coloured people who make a business of keeping the troubles, the wrongs, and the hardships of the Negro race before the public. Having learned that they are able to make a living out of their troubles, they have grown into the settled habit of advertising their wrongs — partly because they want sympathy and partly because it pays. Some of these people do not want the Negro to lose his grievances, because they do not want to lose their jobs.
Ch. V: The Intellectuals and the Boston Mob (pg. 118)
~ Booker T. Washington (1911)